The worst question

Updated: Jun 5

The story of evolution tells us the environment provides the forces, nudges, and pressures out of which spectacular shapes and living entities emerge.

We sometimes look at the problem of designing something inversely by asking bad questions, the worst being: “What should it look like?”

This results in the design happening too early, and oftentimes failing.

The environment, the conditions within which something is meant to function, should determine its form.

Better questions include:

• "Why are we doing this?"

• “What problem(s) are we trying to solve?”

• "Who is it for?"

• "What action(s) do I want my audience to take as a result of it?"

All form flows from here.

Nature knows this.

Below are excerpts from Andreas Feininger's classic The Anatomy of Nature – How function shapes the form and design of animate and inanimate structures throughout the universe:

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